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Plenty of features, but designed for a small head

They ain’t got no alibi, they’re ugly. Even though part of the backs are relatively unobjectionable, the sheer size of the cans makes them look bad. Oh well, no headphones are perfect, and these trade aesthetics for durability. While they aren’t the most durable headphones we’ve ever seen, the BRAINWAVZ HM5s can withstand just about any abuse you hurl at them. Not only are they well-constructed, but you can also replace their cables should they break.

The BRAINWAVZ HM5s can withstand just about any abuse you hurl at them.

Incidentally, they have two removable/swappable cables included with the BRAINWAVZ HM5, a 3.93 foot and a 9.84 foot cable, both Y-shaped, and very well insulated. There are no features like a microphone or remote punctuating either cable. Also, uncommon with headphones, the BRAINWAVZ HM5s also come with a thinner set of ear pads, and an airplane adapter.

Given that the band is so tight, those of you with larger heads will absolutely feel some discomfort as a result of the clamping force of the unit. If you have a smaller brain cage, you should be able to wear these with the huge pads to absorb most of the pressure, but that band is tight.

High performance to price ratio

Despite the high notes straying a little outside of our ideal limits, the BRAINWAVZ HM5s’ frequency response is notably flat, meaning most frequencies of sound are reproduced at roughly the same volume. While on its face it may not seem like the best way to listen to music, it actually lends itself well to equalizing.

The BRAINWAVZ HM5s tend to shift which channel is louder than the other in a relatively unpredictable pattern.

If you have the finely-tuned ears of a head and torso simulator, you’ll probably notice that the BRAINWAVZ HM5s tend to shift which channel is louder than the other in a relatively unpredictable pattern. However, if you merely have really good human hearing, you may only notice a tiny shift in the highest end of frequencies, though it won’t be enough to ruin your listening experience.

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Considering that these headphones really don’t go out of their way to block out noise, it’s a pleasant surprise that they actually do a very good job of preventing pesky noise pollution from ruining your listening session. Though it does a great job of blocking out high-frequency noise, it really doesn’t do so hot with low frequency noise, meaning car and truck engines will be almost as loud as they would be even if you weren’t wearing these on your head at the time. This is fairly common, so it’s nothing too huge to worry about.

High performance for the price

You're getting a lot for a modest initial investment. That's really the biggest nugget of knowledge we can impart onto you, as not only are you getting a set of cans that are extremely durable and perform quite well, but you're also able to easily maintain them unlike many other options out there for the same price.

While their closed backs and high durability lend well to venturing outdoors, we take no responsibility for insults of "dork" hurled at you, as these are very bulky headphones. Try as they might to accent their casing, the s are just not what you take out on the street to look good.

Poor aesthetics are okay if you care about how your music sounds, as the s do very well in this regard. If you're looking for an affordable set of cans that sound great and are very easy to maintain, the s are a great way to get your foot in the door of higher-end audio.

The has a good price to performance ratio.

The had troubles with higher notes.

Higher notes might be get lost in the shuffle a bit, but the stayed mostly within our ideal limits. Most frequencies came out evenly, giving it good sound quality. Without altering the response of the playback however, you will note that there maybe isn't as much bass as you're used to, but you can alter that with the right software or an equalizer. Be sure to check out media players that will allow you to control how your music is reproduced.

Virtually no distortion to speak of, but we'll certainly try anyway.

There is an appreciable amount of distortion with the BRAINWAVZ HM5s, but not enough to warrant a precautionary tale. The total distortion sum is actually on the smaller end, and you shouldn’t notice it in your music.

Able to bump beats at a level of 116.58dB, the BRAINWAVZ HM5s can hold their own at volume. If you go louder than that, the headphones will output a total level of distortion above 3%, so be wary. Still, if you must listen to music this loud, you should really limit how long you subject your poor ears to that kind of force, as you can easily damage your hearing permanently.

Isolation

Considering that these headphones really don’t go out of their way to block out noise, it’s a pleasant surprise that they actually do a very good job of preventing pesky noise pollution from ruining your listening session. Though it does a great job of blocking out high-frequency noise, it really doesn’t do so hot with low frequency noise, meaning car and truck engines will be almost as loud as they would be even if you weren’t wearing these on your head at the time. This is fairly common, so it’s nothing too huge to worry about.

Surprisingly enough, the HM5s do leak a fair bit of sound, though the results seem to vary from robot to person to person. If you have a habit of listening to music that may embarrass you if anyone ever learned your deep dark secrets, you may want to just keep your volume under control, lest you pester those around you with your tunes.

Meet the tester

Chris Thomas

Chris Thomas

Staff Writer, Imaging

@cthomas8888

A seasoned writer and professional photographer, Chris reviews cameras, headphones, smartphones, laptops, and lenses. Educated in Political Science and Linguistics, Chris can often be found building a robot army, snowboarding, or getting ink.

See all of Chris Thomas's reviews

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